For far too long, the Stock Market has become a tool for making money by venal politicians. From the time the markets opened up in the early nineties, some clever politicians have made this their playground, resulting in a distorted market place, which aids just a few at the expense of the rest.
One politician in particular, P Chidambaram tweaked the Participatory Note, a hideous financial instrument to convert black money into white and also pay no taxes on the resulting capital gains, if invested through Mauritius.
This route has been exploited by many a politician, who will find a hawala in India to convert his/ her money from Rupees into Dollars, which he/ she then collects (after paying a commission) in say Dubai. Then the politician (or proxy) heads to a Global Investment Banking company such as Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley, deposit the dollars and get a Participatory Note with no name but just the amount.
The same note is then deposited into a Mauritius company, which then trades in the Indian Stock Market. When the money is put in a particular stock, it pumps up the stock price and draws the investing public with dreams of making a quick buck. This process is akin to a mechanised fishing trawler, which scoops all the fish in its path, leaving nothing in its wake. Having got the stock pumped up, the politician dumps the stock for a handy profit. If this is not enough, the profits are free of capital gain tax because the investment is from a company incorporated in Mauritius.
To achieve this, Chidambaram nurtured and cultivated the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and made the others sacrificial lambs. Chidambaram, with his coterie from the finance ministry and the assistance of venal NSE officials, misused his power and position to steamroll a flourishing company Financial Technologies (FTIL), to protect his own monetary interests in the NSE.
This series, on C-Company gives a detailed account of how a group of individuals, placed in strategic posts helped Chidambaram amass wealth using NSE and at the same time, kept a rival pinned to the ground.